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Employment law is a complex topic. Handled incorrectly it can result in legal battles that have the potential to financially cripple your company, while ruining its good reputation. Handled well, it can attract the very best talent to your door and motivate staff to work their hardest for your business.
Our HR Department specialises in providing businesses with professional personal HR services, without the cost of hiring a full-time HR manager, freeing you to focus on growing your business.
Contracts and terms of employment
While the full contract of employment does not have to be in writing, you must give your employee certain terms and conditions of employment in writing within 2 months of starting employment. This information must include the full names of the employer and the employee and details of the job title, the pay, hours of work, notice requirements. You can read details in our document on the contract of employment.
While most terms and conditions of employment are stated in a written contract or a company handbook you should be aware that custom and practice in the workplace can also constitute a term of employment, for example, a mid-morning break of 10 minutes.
If you, as the employer, wish to change a term or condition of employment you must agree this change with your employee. This requirement for both the employer’s and the employee’s consent to changes in the terms of the contract law.
Anyone who works for an employer for a regular wage or salary automatically has a contract of employment. While the complete contract does not have to be in writing, an employee must be given a written statement of terms of employment within 2 months of starting work - see 'Rules' below.
The majority of employees work under open-ended contracts of employment. In other words, the contract continues until such time as the employer or employee ends it. Many other employees however, work under fixed-term or specified-purpose contracts which are contracts which end on a specified date or when a specific task is completed.
The contract of employment will include some or all of the following elements (regardless of whether the employer and employee have specified them or not):
- The terms that the courts say are in every contract of employment. Examples include the duty of every employer to provide a safe workplace and the duty of every employee to carry out the job to the best of his/ her ability. This part of the contract is occasionally referred to as "common law".
- Terms that must be part of the contract as a result of laws passed by the Dail. Examples include the right to take maternity leave. Such terms are part of the contract even if the employer and employee do not specifically include them and replace any agreement between the employer and employee not to apply the particular law. So, the statutory right to take maternity leave overrides any agreement between the employer and employee that the employee will not take maternity leave.
- Terms that the Irish constitution states must be in every contract, for example, the right of an employee to join a trade union.
- Collective agreements.
- Join Labour Committee Regulations.